“If you took a prima donna, handed her a Gibson, brought her up onstage alongside three guys with a fever for reverb and gave them the green light to wrangle their inner demons before an audience, you’d get Velah. The Bostonian rock quartet works in shades, in that their dramatic delivery comes from an acute understanding of the power of pianissimo and forte. This is best exemplified by a strident riff cutting through a cinematic breakdown as well as the gospel according to Jen Johnson’s otherworldly pipes.
Velah’s songs are four-minute sojourns that carry the weight of a symphony blasting through a single guitar amp. The latest of these, “Skeleton House,” is no exception…”
- Paste Magazine
“Velah, one of the best things to come out of Boston so far in 2012, is back at it again this Friday night at the Pill at Great Scott, supporting the release of their new Skeleton House/Rose Wave 7”. As a follow up to their debut EP, Black Olympia, the quartet continues with their shoegazy hooks, and Allston Pudding is happy to debut the B-side, “Rose Wave.”Spacey and laid back, “Rose Wave” appropriately comes to us at the end of the summer, embodying the leisurely, almost lethargic attitudes of late August. The harmonies of Jen Johnson (ex-Static of the Gods) and Nick Murphy (ex-The Acre) create an overlying pleasant ambiance to a tune that presents a level of gloom to the shimmering reverbed tone. A simple approach to a well-crafted piece of pop, the single will rattle pleasantly in your cranium, even after just a listen or two.”
- Allston Pudding
“Let’s say they delivered indie-to-break-furniture-to with a splash of second-wave emo culminating in a astral-scraping chord-smashing freak out of gargantuan intensity. It would’ve saved them some effort if they had just told everybody “Hi. We will be a big deal in six months,” but that wouldn’t have been as much fun for us.”
- Boston Phoenix, On The Download
“Like a high fidelity phoenix, Velah rose from the ashes of Static of the Gods and The Acre, two Boston bands that called it quits in 2011. Jen Johnson, Mike Latullipe, Danny McNair, and Nick Murphy—Johnson and Latulippe from Static; McNair and Murphy from The Acre, respectively—have been writing together more or less since then, and they’re finally ready to present Velah (rhymes with “Stella”) to the world with their first live set this Saturday.”
“From the ashes of two much-loved Boston bands (Static of the Gods and The Acre), rises Velah. Their debut EP Black Olympia has garnered a lot of attention around town already, and for good reason. Rich layers of alternately shimmering and fuzzy electric guitars, soaring vocals and a thunderous rhythm section coalesce in a tsunami of post-punk, shoegaze and noise pop bliss.”
- Visible Voice Boston
“When I caught Velah at TT’s last month, I was impressed with how well-formed the young band’s sound was. I knew their lineage. I appreciate the work the band’s members did in Static Of The Gods and The Acre. I had high hopes. I also know a band’s early work can be a bit disjointed as they find their legs. Black Olympia flies that notion out the window on a breeze of shimmering guitars.“Wanderlust” opens this EP with an elevated level of urgency. The immediacy of the song defies the shoegaze tag that is often placed on the band. We’re introduced to the vocal interplay, intertwining guitar parts and clockwork drumming that will define these recordings. Each song steps out from there. The chorus to “Calm Down” is pure pop. The EP’s title track is majestic. “Glass Heart” threatens to drown in its own delay-soaked layers before breaking the surface in a triumphant crescendo. It all works. Let’s see where Velah goes next.”
- Daykamp Music
“Black Olympia accentuates their diverse sounds, as both Jen Johnson and Nick Murphy share the role of vocalist, creating great depth and warmth to their energetic instrumental sound. Perhaps most noticeable in the chorus of the second track, Calm Down, we see the wondrous blend of powerful percussion, edgy guitar and the subtle vocal hints between Murphy and Johnson.
But it seems to be the final track that we enjoy the most. Glass Heart, serves as a wonderful finale to four song release as it opens up slowly, all the while rapidly building tension, leading to a vast finish that rounds out Black Olympia splendidly.”
- Indie, Bikes & Beer
“The worst thing about this track is that you can only hear it for the first time once. “Glass Heart” sneaks into your mind before you even realize it had entered your ears.”
- Boston Band Crush, C.D. On Songs
“I was lucky enough to see their first ever show last Saturday night, and I’m happy to report that they can absolutely rock. That’s a vague statement but it was more rock than I’m used to seeing from Nick Murphy and it suited him and his bandmates well. They did it so well in fact, that I almost wondered if they could forgo the vocals and let the listener swim in a sea of blissed-out guitars and percussion. But then you’d miss the vocals from both Jen and Nick that are often the soft pockets that balance it all out and add more dimensions to their songs. I’m going to enjoy watching where Velah takes this new endeavor, their collaboration is off to a tremendous start.”
“The four-tracks of Velah’s new EP Black Olympia pack a post-alt punch sprinkled with a little dream pop and punk kicks.
Their singles, “Calm Down,” and “Glass Heart” might well be part of the soundtrack of my life, drawing me in with velvet intro chords, and knowing lyrics that are too close to home. “Wanderlust” is a little more poppy, with hard-hitting drums and swirling guitars. “Black Olympia” has a darker sound, reminiscent of a We Were Promised Jetpacks sound.”
-Music Crush Girl
“[Velah is] self described as a band that ‘…dismantles and reassembles elements of noise-pop, shoegaze, and post-punk‘. To make such a gaudy proclamation only to fall short would leave most of us red-faced with anger and embarrassed at being duped into thinking such a feat was actually possible. Thankfully that isn’t the case. Velah, if anything, have surpassed those brazen expectations … now they’re hoping new song ‘Skeleton House’, premiered today over at Paste, will continue that tidal wave of momentum. And, with it’s shimmering guitars and deafening backing beat Velah have undoubtedly once again struck gold. It is immediately reminiscent of bands like Arcade Fire and Yeah Yeahs Yeahs without ever infringing on their impressive territory.”
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